Frank A. Dunn is a Canadian business executive who was the Chief Executive Officer of Nortel Networks. In 2007, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil fraud charges against him, and three former senior executives, in a wide-ranging financial fraud scheme.
Dunn joined Nortel Networks (when it was still known as Northern Electric) as a management trainee in 1976, after graduating from McGill University. He was appointed CFO in 1999 under CEO John Roth. After Roth retired, Dunn became the CEO in November, 2001 until he was fired for cause, along with several financial executives in April, 2004. Throughout his career, Dunn was known as a blustery and antagonistic individual with basic accounting skills but no finance skills whatsoever. He was known for his willingness to "Stuff the Channel" at quarter end to enhance revenues. The fact that such a corporate finance neophyte could become CFO is emblematic of the lack of interest and attention that Nortel's sales driven management, under John Roth, paid to the company's financial underpinnings. The fact that he succeeded Roth as CEO shows that the Nortel Board shared this indifference. Indeed, Frank Dunn's entire career can be considered the very embodiment of The Peter Principle. When Dunn was named CFO, an incredulous New York investment banker exclaimed: "Frank Dunn? CFO? The man doesn't know the difference between a bond and a bagel." When he was named CEO, it was clear that the company was out of control and might not long survive without drastic measures.
Frank Dunn is under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as by the Ontario Securities Commission in Canada, and is charged for reporting faulty annual results since 2000. He is also named in several class action suits initiated by disgruntled shareholders. Construction was stopped on the multi-million dollar home that Dunn was building on prime lakefront property in Oakville, Ontario, and it was listed for sale shortly after his dismissal from Nortel. The incomplete residence was sold in 2005 for $8,888,000.00.